Prediabetes & Early Intervention
Prediabetes is a relatively new diagnosis that is a precursor to the development of Type 2 diabetes. It is generally a diagnosis that is based on blood sugar levels and, through changes in diet, exercise and weight loss and maintenance those diagnosed can avoid the health risks associated with Type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is typically a silent condition and there are very few symptoms. Typically if symptoms such as skin discolorations, fatigue, blurred vision, thirst or hunger occur there is already Type 2 diabetes present. Most people with prediabetes find out about the condition through a routine fasting glucose test which most doctors order in adult patients, particularly those over the age of 45.
A family doctor will be aware of the risk factors that may predispose you to prediabetes. These can include factors such as:
- A family history of Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
- Age of 45 or greater
- A body mass index of over 25
- Low activity levels or poor overall physical fitness
- Women that had a baby and also had gestational diabetes or had high birth weight babies
- Hypertension Ethnicity that includes Africans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian or Pacific Islanders
- Triglyceride measurements of over 250 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol levels of lower than 35 mg/dL
- Poor sleep patterns including sleeping less that 5.5 hours per night.
Other factors such as high stress environments, metabolic issues in past medical history as well as a history of cardiovascular problems may also indicate additional risk factors.
The most important thing to remember about prediabetes is that it is not yet diabetes, which means that you have the ability to change the possibility of developing the condition. People that effectively and systematically change their eating habits, exercise levels and even add medications aimed at treating associated health risks of diabetes can reduce the likelihood of actually being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
The basic treatment recommendations for prediabetes include changing unhealthy eating patterns. This means adding high fiber and high nutritional value foods while lowering carbs, fats and processed foods. Typically most people simply need to cut out the unhealthy foods and switch for healthier options. White bread can be switched to whole grain, sweet desserts exchanged for fruits and fried food substituted out for baked, broiled or grilled. Processed foods and snacks are removed from the diet completely.
In addition adding exercise, which means walking, hiking, biking, swimming and weight training at least three to five days a week will help in both getting rid of excess weight and increasing your overall metabolic functioning. People that get out and walk or moderately exercise will also have better cardiovascular health and less chance of developing heart related diseases.
For those with hypertension, high blood pressure or high cholesterol medications may also be required. These medications will not only help in your overall health but they will also decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke, both common conditions associated with those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.